Sunday, November 6, 2011

Peace

tranquility,
simplicity,
serenity,
 a state of harmony,
 the absences of war, 
a state of balance & understanding in yourself & between others,
freedom, bliss...

To know with absolute certainty that where ever you are at this very moment is exactly where you need to be, where you were created to be, 
To know within your very core that every decision you have ever made, every occurrence,  every breath, every hesitation was to bring you here. 

Was to bring you to a place of inexplicable joy, unwavering contentment.

To a place where you are celebrated, 
a place where you  wholly believe that if you allow 
your spirit, 
your aura, 
your purity, 
your core
 to be made manifest, to flow freely 
with out hindrance, with out hesitation, without judgement,

Brings you to a place of power, a place of fulfillment


Wednesday, October 26, 2011

I come from...


I come from the high lands … the mountainous lands…
            I come from the land of the Tainos and Arawaks and their blood still flow through my veins.
            I come from the ancient beatings of the drums of the mother land…
            I come from the world’s first black republic …
            I come from the vodoun culture…
            I come from Bohio, ‘Nan lakou lakay’, (home)…
            I come from Quisqueya, “the mother of all lands”…
            I come from Haiti, “a land which is ours”...

         

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Unheard revolutionaries: Turning trash into gold..


Entreprenuer Profiled: Natasha Joacine, one of HPCD's dynamic entrepreneurs who recently graduated from our 2010-11 class, is an excellent example of  creativity, determination and will. Natasha has literally transformed her community by recycling trash into beautiful products. She has also implemented a community development bureau entitled Association de Petit Genis. This bureau is a space where  over 1,000 children  in the community have access to training from skilled artisans and learn how to make beautiful products from trash.  With HPCD’s help Natasha has now expanded her enterprise to accommodate over 500 women, and 150 seniors and now has opened a new office in center city. She currently has 16 stable employees. Natasha believes
 in the power recycling, and the power of transforming her society by using what is already there:  trash, people, creativity, and will!


Thursday, September 29, 2011

Uncensored Truth


(Frustration, dissatisfaction, imperfection, failures are all challenges as humans we face at one point or the other. And yes, facing these realities are taxing but they are unfortunately inevitable.)


The uncensored truth flows freely in every street corner.


And you have asked me to tell you the truth?

The uncensored truth is hidden in every street corner.

 Moun yo ap goumen, fighting to make it, fighting to make a difference, fighting for their big break.


Nou ap priye, praying to make it, praying to make a difference, praying for our big break
And you have asked me to tell you the truth?


It is seen on their faces, in their fatigue, in the corner they’ve involuntarily staked out as their own. You see it in the 95 degree tent they have learned to call their home.


It is written all over my face, just open your eyes and listen


The uncensored truth stands in every pile of rubble that has yet to be moved.


It peeks through your gates and confronts you with the legitimacy of my reality

 and your semblance of what is true,

Baggai yo pa fasil, difficulties blind their future, their realities, truths hinder them from seeing the other side of the mountain. 

Saturday, August 20, 2011

unheard revolutionaries...

 A few short weeks ago I had the opportunity to interview one of the most vivacious entrepreneurs of our program. She is currently in the textile industry and produces all types of high quality garments. My reaction to this was pleasantly awe-inspiring. I had just sat through 33 different interviews, where we posed the same four questions and the answers quickly grew to be indistinctive.
It all begin with the first answer to our first question:  Who are you? Every single time I have asked an individual this question or been posed it myself my immediate inclination is to share my name, age etc. But upon reflection this question does really encompass a lot more.  And Clorene Blaise, this highly distinguishable entrepreneur, seemed in tune with the inquiry, who she was, who she wants to be, her very essence .
Instead of simply telling me her name, she recounted the names of those who came before her, those who surround her, those who inspire her. Clorene comes from Cite Soleil, international renown for its violence. Clorene told me of Cite Soleil artists, entrepreneur, trail blazers, revolutionaries.

When asked how many people she employed and how she views job creation with in the country. Her response illuminated my inner most desire for the country of Haiti. The people she employs are Haiti’s future. She sees her small business growing exponentially in the next few years and her workers will make sure this dream is a reality. These people will have an improve standard of living,
prioritize education, walk taller, and be filled with dignity.
She spoke of how she began her textile company.  An industry who is not locally known for its thriving capacities but for a fall back option for pregnant teenage women disowned by their families. Clorene, a world changer, plans to revolutionize the textile industry, it will not only be a place where desolate woman will slave as factory worker in big foreign owned factories, but a locally owned enterprise primarily managed  by local Haitian women  which aims to enforce strength,hope, dignity, and solidarity.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Surprise..

Preconceived notions are formed almost instantaneously, especially when it comes to one the biggest and most “dangerous “slums of the western hemisphere.
I’ve lived about 10 minutes from Cite Soleil for about 14 yrs of my life, yet due to the media, fear, and suspicious activity reported within this area, (or maybe just because I am classist prick)  I never really frequented the area.
Yesterday as we commenced our day, my father randomly decided to set an appointment with a pastor he had been collaborating in the Cite Soleil area.  Naturally, I had mixed feelings but anticipated  the encounter none the less.
We drove into Cite Soleil where we met up with the Pastor and before I knew it the scenery which had previously been masked with plastic bottles and filth had been transformed. The neighborhood was spotless. Cleanest neighborhood I have seen to date. What I anticipated and what I saw were polar opposites.  The kids were not angry and violent; they actually welcomed us with open arms. It almost seemed like the people stood a bit taller.
 What we later learned was that the community with the stewardship of Pastor Hillaire , had decided that they would change their community.  All the youth had recently laid down their weapons and personally took the initiative to make the neighborhood their own.  By constant up keep and taking part of the many initiative within their community, example: basing the foundation for the school which digicel foundation plans to place within the area  which seemed solidify the sense of community,served as way to continue to serve each other and their country. .

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

‎"an'n al fe La Difference"

 Left alone with my thoughts..I start to question my decision for being here. Why am I here? What do I want?  It is important to remind yourself of your dreams, your vision because it keeps you focused and centered.
  Yes they were differing factors which led me to sit where I am today but ultimately I know that right now I need to be here.

Many won't understand my decision, but in my heart I know this is as true as it gets.

I am in Haiti ultimately because Haiti lives in me.

My aspiration are great but as I have spoken  to other patrons their dreams  are just as big . I know I am not alone.

Haiti has shone before, and it will shine again.

 Am I ready? Do I have all the tools I need to make the impact I want to make? Maybe  the right question isn't if I am ready but more so, how badly do I want it?

What exactly do I have in mind?
A people unified for a better Haiti through working together to create natural goods, to preserve Haiti's natural infrastructure, stronger focus on education, people working together to market themselves effectively, more sustainable jobs,
.



As the wind tickles my toes and sweeps through my very core. I stand astounded by its grace.
I am surrounded by nature in its simplest form.
The differing shades of green, the flower buds in full bloom.
I listen to their whispers.

Sunday, July 3, 2011

first memory..

I was recently challenged to trace back to my first memory and find out what it means to who I am today. As I rummaged through my thoughts to pin point my first memory, images surfaced left and right. Pictures filled my thoughts, stories which had been recounted by my parents, peers, etc. nostalgia settled in. All I saw was light.

Memories, the mental faculty of retaining and recalling past experience; the act or instance of remembering, recollection.  I would have loved to recount the moment I was pushed out of my mum’s vagina or let alone the moment I was conceived but these memories have only been borrowed by those who actually recall this occurrence.
But as far back as memoir have taken me in the past 48hours. I recall being with my family. It is all just a blur now, but I am sure I was with them.  What significance does that bring to me now?  They bring reason to my life. Their sacrifices, the model they’ve set for me, for their community. They are my light.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Your turn...

So here’s to the day you've always dreamed of. It has finally come.
All your anticipation, all your hopes..

 Now it is your turn 
To act.         
To be.          
To live.

It’s your turn 
to take care of yourself,       
 motivate yourself,     
shine for yourself,

It is your turn.

Yes by appearance at times, there may semblance of loneliness, it may seem like no one is around..
Never believe that.

WE ARE always rooting for you,            
 Praying for you,            
 Thinking about you.
You are never alone.

Get to know yourself, your natural inclinations, your preferences, your limits..
Be the leader you were born to be. Be an example amongst your peers.

Simply Shine.

 Stay focused on your goals; work at it with all your might.

Remember your challenges and accomplishments for they have molded you into who you are and who you can be.

New experiences await you,
Enjoy the adventure.

I love you

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Please, I have three babies

It seems like the closer I got the less I actually understood.

She walks through the subway everyday, 
and greets me as I enter the office,
she holds a sign telling her story, 
and whispers her pleas..

Her smile is sincere, filled with truth,
Her tears are pure, filled with hope,
Her jingle is catchy and hard to forget
Her reality is piercing, sticks with you forever.







Tuesday, May 31, 2011

That was until today...

Add caption

The developing world never ceases to amaze me. Every day is an adventure. Port-au-Prince is brimming with spontaneous activity.  On every street corner seats at least 10 street merchants selling goods ranging from all sorts, shapes and sizes.  But regardless of all this hustle and bustle I have unfortunately noted little productivity. The streets are still framed plastic bottles; tents make up the majority of public spaces.

That was until today.

I had the opportunity to visit 30 innovative women at two different incubators in the city of Port-au-Prince. One was in Martissant, an area which has been heavily ravaged by the January 12 earthquake and the other Cite Soleil, one of the biggest and most dangerous slums within the Port-au-Prince region.  

HPCD, a nonprofit organization which specializes in job creation and sustainability among small business entrepreneurs has partnered with the Minustah on a project entitled ‘Reduction Violance Communautaire’.  This project focuses on entrepreneurial women which have been victims of violence in their respective communities. HPCD has provided a safe venue, an incubator, for these women to produce their products and services, and have afforded them financial support throughout their tenure . Through this project they have been equipped with basic leadership, business management, marketing, and accounting skills which they acquired through a six month course to establish a solid base for future economic, environmental, and social success.

Each of these women has a riveting story.  Many have lost everything in the earthquake which recently devastated the nation and given their status of 2nd class citizens have endured recurring persecution amongst their spouses, peers, and community.   These women are naturally skilled in the products they have chosen to manufacture and are tasked with the objectivity to appoint employees which serves as a support for them while ensuring further job creation. Throughout this program these women have become leaders in their community and have literally risen from the rubble.  But while I noted great progress and productivity among a number of the women I met today regrettably many of their businesses will not flourish outside of the incubator.

Saturday, May 28, 2011

La Vie...

5 short years ago I sat here. 
I contemplated, dreamed, and imagined what my next steps would look like. My realities had been sculpted from my experiences, and my future constructed by what others had recounted, they had foretold, from literature, media etc.
Now I’m back. 
I observe this environment through seasoned eyes.
Is the environment still ripe with opportunity as I had once foreseen or am I now clouded by doubt?  

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

We know why you fly...


After my severely delayed flight, my eagerness to be here doubled. As the captain made his final announcement confirming our imminent arrival, it seemed the misty daze which had narrated my entire day before then began to dissipate. The view from my window seat was beautiful. The vast blue ocean which paralleled the stark mountainous terrain told such an honest narrative.

 I was a bit overdressed for the 90 degree weather which greeted me at Port-au-Prince, my PSU sweats left me drenched in perspiration.  But in all honestly after battling through the bitter cold winter of NYC a little honest sweat did me oh so good. :)

After the prolonged immigration process, I charged for my luggage.   Ironically I found my luggage with relative ease, (I am not quite sure if this is common for international airports given my limited experience but in Haiti there are these multitudes of uniformed men employed to simply assist you with your luggage, a sure tip highly recommended of course) their devout eagerness to assist me with my belongings was slightly stifling.  As I looked around me I couldn’t help but burst into laughter.  My incessant “non merci’s ” ( no thank you’s) weren’t registering. There were at least 5 uniformed men at all times literally grabbing my suitcases from my hands demanding to be of service, this was outrageous. I was slightly confused given that these men were supposedly at my disposal. 


My eager helpers
 
But one look into their eyes I discovered their ardent readiness to help me lug over 150 pounds of shenanigans wasn’t to simply annoy me, or assist me, or drive me insane etc. As I began to center my attention on their needs, I realized  it was my obligation to provide them with a glimpse of hope.  I had experienced foreign lands, lands  which were synonymous to prosperity, affluence,  a better life, and now they wanted proof. fair enough right?

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Pure Love...

What does God mean to me? As I try to wrap my head around what the Creator of the Universe symbolizes, it brings me to a place of absolute gratitude.

I can't imagine my life without Him. He drives my every decision, my hopes, my dreams.  He allows me to see the world through his eyes and in his splendor.

It is a simple relationship, one of pure love, unending grace, and the ultimate sacrifice. His character is revealed through his ever blooming creation, the Bible serves as a medium to hear his voice, and through prayer & meditation I am in constant communication.

Today, we celebrate the resurrection of the God's son. He came down to this earth as a man, was tried and tempted so he could better connect to his creation, he even went so far as to  brutally die for the sins of his cherished people ( us), so that we could spend eternity in his splendor.  And He did this, because he loved me and loved you.

Such a beautiful God we serve.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

What are you willing to live for? What will you die for?
What do you want to be remembered for?What are you doing with what you have?... the skills you have been granted?
... the oppurtunity that have  come your way?
What are your goals?
Who do you aspire to be?
Who do you look up to?
What are your challenges?

Saturday, January 29, 2011

The peculiar visit..

And this was my first. My first moment of pure distress upon return to my sanctuary, my place of peace, my place of rest.

It was a beautiful mid Sunday afternoon. We were met by the sweet aroma of the eucalyptus tress which arched in greeting, about fifty feet from our tall bronze gates. We were in high-spirits, we had just taken part of a beautiful Sunday service and were now invincible.

But amidst all our splendor, as the vehicle crept into our driveway our sensibilities reported otherwise. As I walked toward our front door I noticed our dogs circling around one of my mother's many gardens. And right above, lay evidence to their discovery, our unwelcomed visitors. The only window  not barred with double bars had been punctured and its remains lay shattered on the terrace.

I was terrified. In my 18 years of existence never had our house been broken into.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

We shall overcome...

On January 12, 2011...I had the privilege and honor of marching in solidarity with my fellow brothers and sisters to remember our dear Ayeiti Cheri. As many know, about a year ago this nation was struck by a massive earthquake.  An earthquake which brought the world to its knees. An earthquake which killed over 300,000 people, left over a million people homeless, and the world speechless. People all over the world sent out their love in every way they knew in hopes of helping this extraordinary country heal.

Today marks one year.  

And yet less than 10 % of the aid pledged has been provided.
Over 50%  of the original 19 million cubic meters of rubble remains uncleared,
Over a million are internally displaced,
Camps run ramp-id through out the country, over 40% of these camps lack access to clean water and over 30% of these camps have no toilet. These camps potentially serves as incubators for cholera , HIV, and sexual violence.
Unemployment has quadrupled, over 80% of the people remain unemployed.

Change needs to happen now! 
Today, we marched for the basic human rights our dear brethren.
Today we believed " That a people united, will never be defeated"
Today we believed " We shall overcome"

Today we stood and remembered those who once helped us become the people we are today,
Today we let the world know that these conditions are unacceptable, today is only the beginning.




My Community, My family, my 2nd floor Snyder Love… .

 
Febuary 2010

Letter to my 2nd floor Snyder ladies..
I miss them so much.

I sit here behind my computer with tears of sadness and joy. The last two week has honestly been unbearable, filled with helplessness and sorrow.

I am from Port-au-Prince Haiti and have lived there ever since I was 3 months old. Witnessing, hearing, experiencing and feeling all the destruction that has just happened to my home due to the unnatural forces has left me broken hearted.

All I have known ever since 3 years ago before I started college at PSU has been damaged.  And as I attempt to articulate what this means a wave of unbearable sorrow crushes my whole sense of being. The people, the friends, the families that have lost their live weigh heavily on my heart. When I go days with out communicating with my family, the fear and nightmares of anything happening to them, leaves me speechless. And yes my family has lost almost everything but graciously they are still alive and I thank you for your prayers and thoughts.

Through out these weeks people from all over have been sending out the love to my home, my world, me.  But as I sit here writing this I also realize what my hew home has brought me. 2nd floor Snyder : THANK YOU. I say this whole-heartedly… Thank you for your smiles, your hugs, your *love*, your thoughts, your prayers etc. For YOU being there for me in any way you know how.  Being part of this has enabled me to wake up, smile, and filled with joy because I know on this campus, in my community I have had the opportunity of being blessed to encounter, interact, and live with some of the most beautiful ladies ( inside and out) this world has to offer.

Thank you for your love.


Today.

Today I celebrate a nation,
            I celebrate a nation who has forever changed the world
                                 a bold  nation, a free nation!
Today I celebrate passion, creativity and will
            I celebrate  resilience,
                            and  liberty,
Today I celebrate a revolution,
                                     a revolution of men and women whom despite their circumstances
live life relentlessy
Today I celebrate those who came before me,
                            those who left unexpectedly,
             
I celebrate Haiti

Today I am choosing to follow the examples of those who strived for better,
            I am choosing  to tell the story of their triumph
            I am choosing to listen.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Inhale...

Trapped.
And afraid to breathe.

The room is filled with it 
 and 
one sip of those sweet, sweet fumes 
will be the beginning of the end for me.

But,
I am alone, 
the only one terrified of losing myself.
the only one haunted by the idea of being consumed  with poison.

Everyone else  ingest these toxic fumes with no fear...
May it be, they are not aware? 

 It is odorless.
 It is tasteless.

But. 
But all I see is smoke, 
All I see is death.

All  I see

they collapse.
left and right.

But I must breathe.
And there is no where I flee to.
This is all I know.

All I have ever wanted to know ,  
until now..

      I inhale.






There was an error in this gadget